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Ask Dr. Delay: Funeral processions get right of way under state law

Reader Jim Smith wants to know: "What is the deal with funeral processions? Do they have the right of way? Can they go through red lights and expect other vehicles to give way?"

Florida law says that funeral processions, described as "two or more vehicles accompanying the body of a deceased person, or traveling to the church, chapel, or other location at which the funeral service is to be held, in the daylight hours, including a funeral lead vehicle or a funeral escort vehicle," have the right of way. The key is the presence of a lead car, which may be a law enforcement vehicle or another vehicle, such as a funeral home car outfitted with the proper equipment prescribed by state law.

Florida Statute 316.1974 says that when the funeral procession's lead vehicle lawfully enters an intersection, either by reason of a traffic control device or at the direction of law enforcement personnel, the remaining vehicles in the funeral procession may follow through the intersection regardless of any traffic control devices or right of way provisions prescribed by state or local law. All motor and pedestrian traffic is required to yield the right of way to the procession. The exception is if an emergency vehicle needs to get through, or if a law enforcement officer directs the procession to stop. Any vehicles participating in a funeral procession are required by law to follow the preceding vehicle in the procession as closely as is practical and safe and have their headlights, either high or low beam, and taillights lighted or flashing hazard lights.

No green arrow for 58th St. and Roosevelt

We have had a flurry of inquiries lately regarding the intersection of 58th Street and Roosevelt Boulevard. Readers say that traffic volume is heavy there, that they sometimes wait through up to three cycles of the traffic signal in order to clear the intersection and that it's difficult to make a left turn from Roosevelt onto 58th Street. Some have requested that a green arrow be installed in order to allow for protected turns at the intersection..

The Florida Department of Transportation's traffic operations engineers responded to a reader e-mail we shared with them by reviewing the crash history and heading out to conduct field observations. The conclusion of the engineers was that a green arrow is not warranted. They do plan, however, to make some changes to the intersection that will improve the line of sight for motorists by trimming the median back a bit. Work will begin on the median in a few months, according to Kris Carson of the DOT.

Have your say about possible PSTA changes

Economic strain and budget shortfalls are forcing the county's provider of bus transit to consider raising fares. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority may even eliminate some bus routes as soon as October. If you use the bus system and want to have a voice in the discussion, plan on attending the PSTA's public workshop and hearing on the issue. The agendas of the two events are slightly different. The workshop will be interactive, so people can speak and have their questions answered. At the hearing, only public comment will be allowed for the record. There won't be a question and answer session.

The workshop will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 13 at the downtown campus of St. Petersburg College, 244 Second Ave. N, Room DC210. A week later the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, will host a hearing at 5:30 p.m. July 20. Call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900 or register online and comment at

Doc Delay is on twitter! Get news from the road at Please e-mail Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Ask Dr. Delay: Funeral processions get right of way under state law 07/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 3, 2010 12:56pm]
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